The purpose of filing for bankruptcy is to give a person who is overwhelmed with debt, a fresh start by wiping out his or her debts. Many people seek bankruptcy because they are unemployed, have large medical expenses, have marital problems, or have another unexpected expense. Filing for bankruptcy can be a very emotional time, and many people have questions about bankruptcy procedures in Texas.
The first step when considering bankruptcy is to identify an experienced Texas bankruptcy law firm and work closely with them to set a strategic financial plan. The law firm should offer a free consultation meeting to discuss the credit problem and decide if bankruptcy is the right option. If it is, the firm will begin drafting the petition and ask for your signature. Then a 341 Meeting is scheduled about 30 days after the petition is filed. This meeting is help with a trustee appointed by the court and is usually a fact-finding meeting in which the trustee makes sure everything is in order. Usually about 60 days after this meeting, you can expect a discharge letter, which formally discharges your debts.
There are several types of bankruptcy that can be filed in Texas. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is sometimes referred to as a straight bankruptcy because it is a liquidation proceeding. In Chapter 7 the debtor will surrender all non-exempt property to a bankruptcy trustee. The trustee will sell off this property and distribute the cash to the creditors. In return, the debtor is discharged from all debts within a few months. In most cases of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the debtor has no assets to loose, so it provides the debtor with a quick fresh start.
Another type of bankruptcy is a reorganization of debt called a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy allows debtors to pay off their debts over a span of three to five years. Chapter 13 is set up for debtors with non-exempt property that they want to keep, or for a person who's income is sufficient to pay their expenses and pay off their debts.
Usually the way to decide if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to look at the non exempt assets of the debtor. In a bankruptcy, the trustee will liquidate any assets that are not exempt. There are several Texas specific exemptions that you can claim when filing for bankruptcy, or you may choose to use the Federal exemptions in your petition. The state exemptions include the following: homestead, personal property, insurance or government benefits, property of a business partnership, tools of trade, and wages or commissions. Consult a Bankruptcy Attorney in Texas for specific information on exemptions.
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